The 31 Inch Irish Dilemma

So I’m back from ten days in Ireland. I could say a whole deal about that, and I might even say some of it shortly. But I thought I’d start with this one.

Buying men’s clothes in Ireland is a pain in the arse. I went to Listowel, the closest big town to my parent’s house, and attempted to buy jeans (taking advantage, as you do, of the crashed Irish economy). This was a mistake.

I saw about eight or nine clothes shops in Listowel. Only one of them had men’s clothes. The others sold women’s clothes only and had names like “Young Trend” and “Infinite Style” and “Mortifying Blouse”. I made those names up. But you see where I’m going.

The explanation I was given for this by my family is that men in country towns in Ireland don’t buy clothes for themselves, and when they do, they don’t think about it much. I’m not sure who does buy their clothes. Santa, maybe. Or sartorial leprechauns. It’s an open question.

Anyway, I ventured into the clothes shop in question (and I’d like to link to it but they have no website). It wasn’t a goldmine, let me say up front. It was very much a cheap-suit-and-sweater kind of establishment. The kind of place a greasy country politician might shop. I anyway had a look through the trousers on offer. Where I made an astounding discovery.

Men’s trousers in Ireland come in even sizes only. As in 30, 32, 34 inches. 31 inches doesn’t exist. I asked the man who owned the shop and he told me so. You just don’t get them. In fact he’d never even thought about it. It’s just the way it is.

I confirmed this in several shops in Dublin. Size 31, despite existing in every other country I’ve shopped for clothes in, doesn’t exist anywhere in Ireland. Even for pricey brands like Wrangler and Diesel and the like. Not there, and never has been.

I was advised to buy a 32 and wear a belt. Lovely.

I wonder when this was decided in Ireland. And I wonder why Irish retailers are unaware that odd sizes exist in the world at large. Maybe it’s some kind of conspiracy to prevent men wearing jeans that fit them. I suspect the Catholic church are involved somehow.

And yes, I bought a 32 and wore a belt. Happy?

/ paddy

The Fall of the Soldiers of Destiny

So yeah, there’s been an election in Ireland. The main gist of what happened is the following: the Fianna Fáil party, having rode the country like a horny fat man on a lame donkey for decades, has been well and truly shat on. Their share of the vote dropped from around 40% to under 20% and they lost seats all over the fucking shop.

This is good news. Those miserable bastards with their too-big suits, their thick country accents, their moist lips on the Bishop’s firm member and their fingers jammed up their own arses to the second joint, deserved nothing better. In fact, if you ask me, those despicable cunts should have to pay back their wages for the last two years and have their pensions docked forever. A finger or two removed wouldn’t hurt either.

The Green Party, in coalition with Fianna Fáil, lost all their seats. Every single one. Well that’s what they get for getting into bed with the devil. I am, in a way, personally responsible for the Greens being in government at all as I was on the campaign team that got their leader, John Gormley, onto his first Dáil seat in 1997 by a margin of 27 votes. So yeah, sorry about that folks. It’s all entirely my fault.

Of course Fianna Fáil weren’t thrown out for being nasty and shite. If the country had been ticking along as normal, they could have been as corrupt as they liked and nobody would care. They lost their power because the economy folded. The main reason for the crash was the bail-out of two huge banks, and the resulting fuck-load of debt following a staggering loan from the EU and IMF.

Other reasons include real estate agents (the miserable fucks) pushing up the property prices, the banks lending money to any ould tosser who wanted it, the developers covering the country with ugly houses and the Irish population scrambling to buy big fuck-off cars and tiny mobiles and borrow themselves into the fucking ground. The huge loan was the last massive stone on the already rickety raft. And Irish people, feel free to correct me on the real reasons for the crash. I don’t actually live there any more, you know.

Anyway, now the reins of power pass to Fine Gael, a centre-right party with very fine suits, very likely in coalition with the centre-left Labour party. Sinn Féin made big gains too and look like being a power in the next government. And along with them a shitload of independents with fascinating names and haircuts are heading to Dublin to claim their seats, all getting ready to deal with the biggest fucking mess in Ireland since Bloody Sunday.

I think it’ll be worth watching.

On a side note – have any bankers been brought to task for crippling the state and hurting the lives of Irish people for generations to come? Of course not, don’t be daft.

Where’s my hammer, pa, I think we got us some finger smashin’ to be done…

/ paddy

Trains and Ould Fellas

I have asked my cousin to do a guest post. This is my first guest post ever, because I was lazy and because my cousin amuses me greatly with her writings on Facebook.

So here we go. Enjoy. And forgive me for my laziness.

I come from the Country but I live in the City. After greatly celebrating the festivities of our Sacred Lord and his wonderful chocolate eggs, I realized that I would have to return to the City. Being the prudent girl that I am, I took advantage of the Irish rail systems newly established online booking system and booked myself a nice expensive seat in one of the cushier cabins.

Lately I’ve been feeling rather impressed with Iarnród Éireann (said railway) due to their spacious cabins, cushy seats and of course the marvelous dining cart service that harbours an interesting if slightly expensive range of sweeties ranging from Pringles to Lilly O’ Brien’s indulgent chocolates.


If there’s one thing you can’t change on train journeys, it’s the people. The people who don’t really know how the system works, or how to use it to their advantage to promote more comfort for themselves and others. 

You know the ones. The ones who perilously flee in any given direction when bus speakers announce, ‘Please step back, luggage doors operating.’ 

They’re the ones who stare at you with wild eyes and froth at the mouth while asking, ‘Are you local?’

They’re generally in the age bracket of forty to seventy and while I can’t paint them all with the same brush, they generally also don’t know how to collect their tickets at the automated ticket collection machine. 

It was one of those who caused me to become not only short in stature, but also short in temper today. As I was trying to make my way to my pre-booked seat, one seatless and grumpy woman roared at me that there were no unbooked seats in that direction, and that we should all just give up and get off the train now.

Upon my arrival at my pre-booked seat I found a fifty something country male with a broken arm smiling up at me. Well, I can’t tell you the shame I needlessly felt as I had to turf some ancient pathetic cripple out of my cushy throne. Man, all eyes were upon me. I could only guess at what the other passengers were thinking. Me in my prime, healthy goodness oozing out of my ears, energy buzzing off my kneecaps. Sure look at me! Fit to dance ten jigs, run the London marathon and save the orphan babies of Calcutta! And here I was, abusing my power to cast an injured elder into the great seatless beyond. 

And you can bet I did; I pulled my ticket on that man. And I’ll do it again. I may be short, but by God, I can navigate a computer interface with ease.

/ paddy (although not really)

Letter From a Catholic Priest

The Catholic church just doesn’t want you to leave. They baptise you before you can make a decision for yourself, and then make it artificially difficult for you to extricate yourself, so difficult that most people just don’t bother. And this leads to the Catholic church being able to boast a “membership” that is nothing at all like the actual numbers, because many of these “members” have not mumbled in a church for years and probably never will again.

Well now there is hope as these people have built a website making the process, if not simple, at least doable.

I have been pursuing this process myself over the last couple of months and now my Declaration of Defection (actus formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia catholica) has reached the parish priest of the town where I grew up.

And this man has taken it upon himself to send me a hand-written letter explaining why I should reconsider my decision, as well as pointing out how great the Catholic faith is and why I should stick with it, just, you know, in case.

This letter has left me gobsmacked. Well and truly speechless. I don’t even know how to reply. In fact I will refrain from even commenting on it and allow you to read it for yourself.

And, when you’re done, and your gob has ceased smacking, please let me know how you think I should formulate my reply. Because a reply there shall be, oh yes, and the little priest’s eyes will be burned from his self-righteous head by a truly scorching analysis of his bag of sickening clichés, his idiotic and laughable “beliefs” and his despotic, parasitical and thoroughly nasty church.

In fact, this is a golden opportunity, to be able to dissect the best arguments of a Catholic priest, line by flabby line, and let him know precisely what reasoning people think of his stinking cesspit of an organisation. And the best part is – he will read it all, every line, because he has to!

Oh I can hardly wait. But first, for your delectation – the letter itself:

ear XX

I received your letter regarding your desire to leave the Catholic Church. I feel a need to drop you a line before I change the register.

I have been in PARADISE parish since last July and have the privilege of ministering to the people. I use the word privilege because my vocation as a priest allows me to share a little of my faith and be helped and strengthened by the faith of the people.

Tonight we had a wonderful ceremony of First Confession for the children. It was powerful to see the huge commitment of parents and teachers in handing on the faith.

On the occasions of funerals I see great acceptance of loss in people who are practicing the faith. However those who are not practicing find the loss very difficult as the powerful sense of hope is lost.

Next week we celebrate the great Easter Ceremonies. On Easter Sunday morning at 6 am we have an open air mass to welcome the new life and hope of Easter as the dawn comes upon us. You may remember these ceremonies. God knows we need hope in our church at this time.

When you were baptised in June 19XX your parents XY and XX desired that you would be welcomed into the church. Like all the other gifts they gave you as a child they wanted you to have the great gift of faith. That gift was bestowed on them on the day they were baptised. It was a privilege for them to share the gift with their child

The gift of faith is a spiritual gift bestowed on us for a lifetime. You will have it for your lifetime even though it may not be appreciated for now. Changing the register does not take away that gift.

Faith is calling you and I each day to do good and to pray. Through the church the Lord is helping and supporting us.

Apologies for my handwriting. My computer skills are not great.

You may like to reflect on my words or you may like to disregard them, but I feel a need to say them. I wish you well in your work and good health and happiness in the years ahead. If you are home in PARADISE anytime drop in for a cup of tea. You might let me know if you have reconsidered.

All the best,

Fr John Doe

Okay people, the game is on. We got the priest in our sights. Now take a deep breath, squeeze that rhetorical trigger and let’s go get him!

/ paddy